Part 38: The Martian Solution
Chapter 38: The Martian Solution
: The completion of the Mind Shield on Early Light really turned a new page on the war. Not only was the base protected from psionic scanning, rendering it nearly invisible to the aliens, but it also meant we could finally interrogate the captured Sectoid Leader.
: I was asked to conduct the "interrogation" due to my high psi-defense. Director Ulysses wanted to take no chances with this alien controlling base personnel. My mental defenses plus the Mind Shield combined meant I could read the thoughts of the Sectoid without fear of it controlling me. I suited up in my armor to deter any physical attacks the Sectoid might be foolish enough to take, and entered the containment room. This thing had been sedated for weeks and only now was finally given a chance to wake up. I gave it a little kick and it slowly began coming to.
Otto Zander: Wake up. Come on, get up, talk to me. Can you understand me? Can you communicate?
: Where?...What is happening?
Otto Zander: Think about your Hive Ship. Think about your plans for Earth
: You're part of the human resistance, aren't you? You're in league with the...
: I was getting flashes of images from the Sectoid - UFOs in hangars, reproduction/cloning tanks and a clear image of a red planet. It had to be Mars. The problem was I could sense that there was a lot more that the alien knew, but I couldn't read it. At the time I thought it was simply blocking me, I didn't consider that a third intelligence was psionically interfering with the interrogation.
: The High One will stop you and all our enemies.
: More flashes came in. The Sectoid believed that a supernatural power was controlling and guiding all the actions of the aliens, either through direct psionic means, or through transmissions into their UFOs. It had never seen this High One personally, but it did know of high-ranking Sectoids who apparently were in contact with the High One - Commanders. These Commanders issued commands via computer that they claimed were directly from the High One. Putting it all together, I believed that the aliens' religion was most likely a sham, a cover for what was really going on. The High One was probably a computer, or some kind of artificial intelligence capable of generating psionic fields and the Commanders were the caretakers of that computer.
I asked it about the Hive Ship, and I couldn't get much. The vision was of an enormous ship, shaped like a plus sign - four extensions around a large central node. The Sectoid remembered coming out of a cloning tank on one of the four extensions, and receiving various trainings until it came to earth. I was able to learn that the sheer bulk of the Hive Ship prevented it from superluminal travel, meaning it was heading towards Earth at sub-light speeds.
What I could not tell was where exactly the High One was located, only that the alien Commanders would. Was it on the Hive Ship that was coming ever closer to Earth? Or was it somewhere on Mars? The latter was most worrying. The images in my head were of a massive facility. There was no way the aliens could have built that base recently and escaped detection. The research facility under Kyoto the aliens built could have been assembled by one or two ships that had escaped our detection, but the one on Mars would require fleets of construction ships. Surely our telescopes would have seen one of them?
After sedating the Sectoid once again, I submitted my findings to Dr. Markus.
Markus seemed rather unsurprised at everything I told him, which seemed odd to me. I was thanked for my contribution and told to keep everything I learned a secret. I was not to discuss anything relating to Mars with any of my fellow soldiers. The notice all soldiers received shortly thereafter included a directive to capture alien Commanders, but mentioned nothing about Mars. I was certain Commanders would only be present in alien bases or their largest ships, so capturing one would prove difficult.
Our recently acquired facility in the United States was nearing completion. Originally, Area 51 was a testing ground for new types of aircraft the US Military was creating, but soon it would serve as X-COM's center of operations for North America. The idea was to hide the base "in plain sight" at an already highly defended location, hoping the aliens would look elsewhere for us, not expecting an X-COM base underneath a high-profile US installation.
A Sectoid terror ship entered the Earth's atmosphere over western Russia, heading straight for its target. In the battle for North America, the aliens struck first.